October 3, 2020 - No. 37

Trudeau Government's Foreign Policy

Attempts to Justify Anglo-American Imperialist Restructuring of International Institutions and World Order

Trudeau's Shameless Presentation to the UN General Assembly

- Hilary LeBlanc -

In the Parliament

The "Pandemic Aid Bill"

- Nick Lin -

Thousands Left Out of New Income Support Benefits

- Migrant Rights Network -

Broad Opposition in Alberta to Racist Violence

All Out to Oppose State Protection of Racist Violence!

- Peggy Morton -

Vigils Across Quebec for Victim of Racism

Justice for Joyce Echaquan

- Christine Dandenault -

• Vigils for Joyce Echaquan

• October 4: Sisters in Spirit Vigils

Economic Recovery Plan for BC

Restructuring State Arrangements to Strengthen
Provincial Pay-the-Rich Economy

- K.C. Adams -

75th Session of UN General Assembly Underway

75th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Charter

- Dougal MacDonald -

Presentation by President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez to the General Debate

The Significance of Analyzing Unfolding Events

The Battle Over the U.S. Presidency

Trudeau Government's Foreign Policy

Attempts to Justify Anglo-American Imperialist Restructuring of International Institutions
and World Order

The Trudeau government's conception of reality, manifest in Prime Minister Trudeau's presentation to the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, is becoming horribly entangled in its own machinations and prejudices. The Trudeau government makes a perpetual muddle of how it perceives unfolding events and the results of the neo-liberal world order but this is not the worst of it. Its deadly vice is unbridled chauvinism in favour of anachronistic Anglo-American liberal democratic institutions, a lust for itself, its megalomania, and an intolerant attitude towards all those who espouse values of their own, based on their right to be. This intolerant attitude is racist and leads to violence.

Its conception of reality does not meet even the most minimum standards of human cognition. Informed by "Third Way" dogma and NATO, it is in accord with the likes of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, both of which have endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States.

It is a conception of reality based on anti-consciousness deliberately directed towards covering up reality, distorting it and making sure that the striving of the peoples of the world for empowerment and to make sure the New prevails over the Old is blocked. And all of it is done in the name of "change" and "renewal," "green solutions," "multilateralism," "peace," and more.

Behind it lie the class interests of the Anglo-American imperialist bourgeoisie enforced by the states it has put at its disposal through economic and political domination, defamation, persecution, criminalization and terror. Within this anti-consciousness, the international financial oligarchs require a "smart" person like, presumably, Justin Trudeau whose quality to know what to say at all times and under all conditions as he has been coached by his handlers to do, seems to appeal to them so long as he can keep his sense of entitlement in check. Within anti-consciousness, such "smart" people only see what their master wants them to see.

All the variants of the neo-liberal schools of thought advocate the current restructuring of international institutions to suit the Anglo-American imperialist new world order. To appeal to the most backward and anti-conscious forces, both within the country and internationally, drivel is passed off as cogent analysis and thought without even minimal self-respect or respect for scientific inquiry. Accolades are given to individuals who commit atrocities against the high road of civilization, while the forces which are fighting to humanize the natural and social environment and international relations are demonized.

Those who push their own machinations and prejudices underestimate the role of the objective world, the contradictions inherent in it and their maturing. The maturing of the contradictions inherent in the objective world plays the role of a sledgehammer against all stubborn refusal to recognize reality. The attempts of the proponents of the imperialist system of states under the domination of Anglo-American imperialist interests to escape the laws of history will not succeed. Life itself is directed by the striving to bring in the New as the Old passes away. The laws of history inexorably favour the rise of the New against the Old. But just as inexorably, the policies and arrangements these imperialist forces are putting in place lead to prolonged suffering, corruption, destruction and war and must be opposed.

It shows the urgency of the striving for empowerment of those on the world scale who stand for just causes to throw off the baggage of anti-consciousness in order to make headway in their forward march. The theoreticians and spokespersons of an anti-human conception of reality are instruments of the imperialist system of states telling the working people that they must not live by what they themselves know but get bamboozled by the neo-liberal double-speak which claims to be progressive, against backward nationalism, populism, racism, the abuse of women and of human rights.

The peoples of the world learn through their own direct experience which is why constant measures are taken to get them to abandon their experience and listen to and adopt prejudices of various kinds. But what always comes through in the neo-liberal doublespeak is the passionate hatred of the two-bit propagandists and champions of the ruling imperialist elite for those engaged in fighting for just causes. Their hatred leads them to intrigues of irrationality and collaboration with the U.S. imperialist war machine to commit crimes of their own.

This explains what the Trudeau government and its ministers are up to.

See also:

"Canada's Imperialist Multilateralism," Margaret Villamizar, TML Weekly, February 22, 2020

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Trudeau's Shameless Presentation to
the UN General Assembly

In an exhibition of utmost hubris and self-delusion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the General Debate of the General Assembly of the United Nations' 75th session on September 25.

In a pre-recorded message, he used the occasion to promote the imperialist conception of a new world order being pushed by a section of the international financial oligarchy in their fight over control of the world's peoples and resources under today's conditions. It is a desperate attempt to present the wolves themselves in sheep's clothing so they can continue their rape and plunder unopposed. The very forces that have brought the world to the brink of exhaustion by imposing neo-liberalism, now want to restructure international institutions created in the post-World War II period in a manner that shores up the imperialist system of states in favour of Anglo-American imperialist interests.

Trudeau painted a dire picture of the global situation. Without clarifying who is "us," he said:

"The world is in crisis. And not just because of the last few months. Not just because of COVID-19. But because of the last few decades. And because of us. This is our wake-up call, and we cannot ignore it. Time and time again, history has shown us that the price to pay for turning away, for failing to act, is much too high."

Trudeau proceeded to give the following rendering of the tumultuous events that led up to World War II and its terrible loss of life:

"Our parents and grandparents remember all too well what things were like in the '30s and the '40s. Economies collapsed. Governments -- and systems of government -- crumbled. Millions died."

Continuing his narrative that the "we" and "us" he represents is the "we" and "us" of not only Canadians but presumably the peoples of the world, he said:

"Our parents and grandparents chose to lift themselves up and to rebuild. They established multilateral institutions like the United Nations. They created international financial institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other Bretton Woods institutions.

"And they laid the groundwork for a rules-based international order through which we enjoyed an unprecedented period of common prosperity in the second half of the 20th century."

In this way, instead of analyzing the cause of the crisis, Trudeau misrepresented major events of the 20th century to not only cover up those forces and institutions responsible for the crisis but present them as the solution. He did not say that the crisis is the result of imperialist rape and plunder of the world's resources, merciless exploitation and oppression of the peoples of the world, all of which are enforced by the financial institutions the Trudeau government supports. Nor did he speak about the wars of aggression, coups d'état and use of sanctions by the U.S. imperialists and NATO, their aggressive military alliance of which Canada is an integral part, imposed on the peoples of the world since the end of World War II. Similarly, he shamelessly ignored the role that the imperialist system of states plays in the enslavement, poverty and immiseration of the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and in establishing and propping up corrupt governments.

Instead, Trudeau declared that the problem is that:

"Today, all those institutions no longer serve us well enough on what they were designed for -- defending multilateralism and international law, protecting human rights and open markets."

"That is what the crisis of COVID-19 has shown, beyond a shadow of a doubt. That things have to change. And not just on the world stage -- but at home, too," he added.

Projecting his own bad conscience, in the most facile manner, onto the 193 members of the UN whose conditions are not parallel to Canada's, he made it clear that taking responsibility for "failures" is not in his DNA. Trudeau declared:

"We do not do enough for the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly who are dying in health care facilities, or the homeless, for whom each night is a struggle. We have not gone far enough to eliminate systemic injustice, whether it be racism against Blacks or Indigenous peoples, homophobia or sexism.

"In the difficulties of our citizens, we can see the failures of our institutions, of our world."

COVID-19 has generated a humanitarian crisis and pushed many countries to the brink. Trudeau's speech was neo-liberal doublespeak to divert attention from the calls of the peoples of the world for people's empowerment and democratic renewal to replace the anachronistic 19th century liberal democratic institutions which place decision-making in the hands of elites, who govern in the name of the people to serve the rich and block the people from finding solutions.

Trudeau warned of the threat of climate change and called for "a new way of thinking" on climate, inequality and health. He issued a shameless appeal for more elite rule in the name of eliminating "gridlock" in decision-making.

"Too often, concerted action is blocked -- the needs of our citizens are denied -- as a result of gridlock at decision-making bodies," Trudeau charged.

"And why? Because there are few consequences for countries that ignore international rules. For regimes that think might makes right. Few consequences for places where opposition figures are being poisoned while cyber tools and disinformation are being used to destabilize democracies.

"Few consequences when innocent citizens are arbitrarily detained and fundamental freedoms are repressed. When a plane of civilians is shot from the sky. When women's rights are not treated as human rights. When no one has any rights at all."

This is an offensive attempt to legitimize Canada's own role in arbitrarily detaining innocent citizens, its egregious mistreatment of the fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees and political opponents, but also its own role in bombing planes of civilians and civilians themselves. All of it is a thinly disguised threat against those countries which refuse to come under the dictate of the imperialist system of states. Accusing others of what the imperialists themselves do, including Canada, is the lowest form of praise for oneself. Trudeau should remember that facts are stubborn things. What the Canadian state and its intelligence agencies do is not a thing of the past.

This defence of the Anglo-American liberal democratic institutions and values is contemptible neo-liberal speak which Trudeau and the inner-circles of the Government of Canada think will succeed in covering up what they are up to with their "Korea Group," "Lima Group," use of the Organization of American States, NATO, criminal doctrines like Responsibility to Protect (R2P) "humanitarian interventions" to carry out and justify "constitutional" coups d'état, deadly sanctions and aggression. The demand to restructure international institutions to establish Anglo-American imperialist control over decision-making is justified in the name of the urgency of the situation and the need for accountability. What constitutes accountability and to whom governing bodies should be accountable, who establishes them, their aim and who they serve are all left in the shade.

"The only way to make things right, the only way to build a better future for our children and grandchildren, is to work together. By standing up for each other, no matter what lines are drawn on maps," Trudeau said.

His speech concluded with the words:

"We must understand our opportunities and our responsibilities to take real action, together. To protect each other, to support each other."

"If we meet this moment, if we rise to this challenge, I know that, like our grandparents did 70 years ago, we will lay the foundations of a better world."

How the peoples of the world need to "protect each other" Trudeau of course does not say in this shameless promotion of an imperialist so-called new world order. Restructuring the international institutions to permit Anglo-American imperialist control over world affairs will merely prolong the decadence, corruption and amoral rule of the imperialist system of states, all in the name of high ideals. It will exacerbate the dangers which lie ahead at the hands of the counterrevolutionary imperialist forces.

(Quotes  from "PM Speaking Notes for the United Nations General Assembly Virtual Address, September 25, 2020" available on the UN website -- www.un.org. French quotations translated by TML.)

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In the Parliament

The "Pandemic Aid Bill"

The government put a bill before the House of Commons on September 28 -- Bill C-4, An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19 -- which includes three new benefits to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). News reports indicate that "millions of CERB recipients will transition automatically to Employment Insurance (EI). Expanded eligibility rules will mean more people can qualify."

In a deal brokered with the NDP to secure its support in a confidence motion on the Throne Speech, EI will provide a taxable benefit of at least $500 a week, or $300 a week for extended parental benefits. Those eligible for EI will be entitled to a minimum of 26 weeks of regular benefits.

The new language the NDP negotiated is said to expand eligibility to include people who "have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19."

While many CERB recipients will be transferred automatically onto EI, those who are self-employed or have a 900-series social insurance number (which have expiry dates) have to reapply. We are informed that Canada Revenue Agency officials have started to get in contact with roughly 400,000 people in the category of people with 900-series social insurance numbers. The category applies to those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, including temporary foreign workers and international students as well as refugee claimants and certain others. Canadians who received CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency but have 120 insurable hours and meet other eligibility criteria may also qualify for EI. According to a government press release, they can expect their first payment as of October 14.

The rules allow claimants to keep all their work earnings while still receiving part of their EI benefits. Recipients forego 50 cents of the benefit for every dollar earned above $38,000. Recipients must make "reasonable and ongoing job search efforts" while receiving EI. Those efforts can include reaching out to employers, preparing a resume or cover letter, registering for and searching job banks and submitting job applications.

The government created three new benefits for Canadians who don't qualify for EI, providing a payment of $500 a week:

- the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is for the self-employed or gig workers who don't qualify for EI;
- the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is for workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19; and
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) is for people who can't work because they need to care for a child or dependent for reasons related to COVID-19.

The package is projected to cost $34 billion. CERB paid out about $80 billion in benefits to nearly nine million people. The bill also includes another $17 billion for other measures.

On September 28, the Liberals proposed a motion, supported by the NDP and Green Party, that allowed the government to pass the bill through all stages of the House of Commons in a single day. After being introduced in the House on September 29, it was passed unanimously at about 3:00 am on September 30. The bill received Senate approval and Royal Assent on October 2.

On September 29, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released a report updating its projections for the federal deficit based on spending announcements made up to September 1. These projections do not include any of the new spending commitments made in the Throne Speech. According to the PBO, already under policies in place prior to September 1 the federal deficit is projected to be $328.5 billion in 2020-21, including an estimated $226 billion in COVID-19 response measures. The office of the PBO reports that relative to the size of the economy, the deficit amounts to 15 per cent of GDP -- the largest budgetary deficit since 1966-67.


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Thousands Left Out of New
Income Support Benefits

At 3:00 am this morning [September 30], in a rare overnight sitting, Parliament passed a law creating new income support benefits -- CRB (Canada Response Benefit) -- to replace the CERB [Canada Emergency Response Benefit].

The CRB excludes migrants without a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Hundreds of thousands of migrants who can't renew our SIN because of delays in processing our work and study permits -- even our Permanent Residence applications -- are shut out. Undocumented migrants living and working in this country for years without status have been denied vital income support.

We are in the second wave of COVID-19, and yet again, immigration rules are being used to deny protections to migrants. While the income support law has effectively passed, there is still a solution for us: granting full and permanent immigration status to everyone in Canada, thus guaranteeing a valid SIN.

Already over 350 organizations, and 8,000 people have signed a letter calling for #StatusforAll.

Just last Wednesday [September 23], the federal government's Throne Speech promised "full support and protection" for migrant food and farmworkers, and that the government will "continue to bring in newcomers and support family reunification." The government knows that the simplest way to do this is by ensuring full and permanent immigration status for all 1.6 million people in the country without permanent resident status.

But instead of that, politicians passed a law that denies income support to:

- Migrant domestic workers and others who applied for Permanent Residency as early as January 2020, and are allowed to live and work in Canada, but no longer have a valid SIN while they await an answer on their application;

- Migrant workers, including former international students, whose work permits have expired or will expire soon because of COVID-19 delays, who will be unable to work to support themselves and their families.

- Undocumented migrants who lost their immigration status because of unjust rules but who have remained in the country working in essential and undervalued jobs -- cleaning, delivery, care work, food service, construction -- and are building community.

Actions speak louder than words. Only pressure from us will push politicians to build a fair society with equal rights and full immigration status for all. We are planning future actions and will announce them soon. If you are a migrant or undocumented person, get in touch with us to get organized! Share this petition broadly.

Momentum is growing behind our demand for status for all. Last Saturday, the investigative show W5 on CTV took an in-depth look at how the lack of permanent status puts migrant farm workers in dangerous and exploitative situations.

Watch workers tell their stories of fighting back here.

Together, we will win.

Hussan & Karen,
Migrant Rights Network

PS: If you are on a post-graduate work permit that's expiring, or know someone who is, join this meeting to be part of the fight for change: Zoom webinar.

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Broad Opposition in Alberta to Racist Violence

All Out to Oppose State Protection
of Racist Violence!

Calgary demonstration June 3, 2020, one of a number of protests in Alberta following the death of George Floyd, demanding an end to police violence and impunity.

Members of Red Deer Against Racism organized a rally in Red Deer on September 20, with speakers from Rural Alberta Against Racism and the Black and Indigenous Alliance Alberta. Many such events have been organized recently in rural Alberta to hold community conversations and speak out against racism, including two successful events in Red Deer.

However on September 20, racist groups from several cities in Alberta attacked the rally in Red Deer, assaulted participants, and forced the cancellation of the event.

A similar attack took place on September 10 in Ponoka, where a driver deliberately aimed his car at the activists, injuring one person. The RCMP refused to investigate. A press conference held September 14 to expose this attack was disrupted and drowned out with racist insults. The RCMP spokesman told a reporter who questioned their role at the press conference, "Are you suggesting one side's voice is more important than the others? Because it's not. So we let everybody say what they need to say as peacefully as they can and that's how this country works."

Organizers of the September 10 event have also spoken out about continuous harassment, death threats and threats of violence, including gun violence, which the RCMP have refused to investigate.

The state presents a narrative of "protesters" and "counter-protesters" engaged in a "confrontation." One of the organizers of the September 20 event decried being called "protester." She is a concerned citizen participating in organizing public discussions in order to find solutions to real problems, she said. The aim of the so-called counter-protesters was to break up the rally and prevent public discussion.

When violence is used to stop political discussion and block the solution of problems, to speak of "protest" and "counter-protest" or "letting everybody have their say" is to deliberately confound what is taking place. This kind of logic is irrational and reveals the kind of role played by the state and its agencies to create confusion over who promotes the racism and violence, which is state-inspired and organized.

The RCMP initially refused to investigate the September 20 attack as well, but after a video of the assault went viral, they issued a press release, September 23, which stated, "As demonstrators were setting up for the event and prior to RCMP arriving for their planned attendance, a disturbance occurred between two separate demonstration groups, resulting in one male allegedly assaulting another. This incident was caught on video prior to Red Deer RCMP members arriving on scene and was shown to officers by those on scene." The only verifiable fact in this statement is that the RCMP were nowhere to be seen when the racist assault took place.

Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said the RCMP informed him they were late because organizers changed the location. Kisha Daniels, a co-founder of the Black and Indigenous Alliance Alberta, responded that the RCMP were well aware that the venue was changed because of threats of violence. Red Deer RCMP Superintendent Gerald Grobmeier then claimed that the organizers had "arrived early." Organizers stated they informed the RCMP that they had received death threats and threats of violence, including gun violence. A video posted online showed a "dress rehearsal" for an attack. The RCMP finally agreed to be present one hour before the start of the rally, but did not do as they had agreed.

Rally organizer Cheryl Jaime Baptiste told Global News that when they did arrive, RCMP "made no effort to step in at all and it's inexcusable." Organizers also stated that the police did nothing to enforce a restraining order. The fact that none of this is surprising, given the racist history of the RCMP from day one to the present, does not make their complicity in these attacks any less reprehensible. What is clear is that the RCMP is facilitating and complicit in violent attacks by racist thugs.

"All Albertans, regardless of race, religion or creed, have the right to live their lives peacefully, and I denounce any instance of bigotry and intolerance," Justice Minister Madu said in a news conference on September 22.

Madu does not say that making death threats, committing assault with a vehicle, and violating a restraining order are criminal offences which will be vigorously prosecuted. He says the issue is "bigotry and intolerance," dismissing the actual crimes committed. The Minister cannot be more hypocritical than that when the Kenney government itself has incited vigilante actions against Indigenous people and Canadians standing in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en, blamed Indigenous people for "massively damaging the economy," and passed Bill 1 specifically targeting the defence of Indigenous rights, land and law. Not only is the Kenney government attacking rights non-stop, it has deliberately tried to create a diversion to the political and economic problems the people are facing instead of providing solutions. Those who are working to provide solutions are the target of state-organized attacks.

As for the Trudeau government, it is preparing to introduce legislation in the name of curbing hate speech which will be used against those who are fighting for their rights. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says that the "vines and weeds," those she described as "the preachers of hate, the angry populists of the extreme right and left" who "rail against groups like ours" -- namely those who have usurped political and economic power and block people's empowerment -- have to be rooted out.

An example of how the state intervenes to attack progressive forces in the name of opposing "hate" or "extremism" was provided at a September 24 press conference by a spokesperson for the organizers of the events in rural Alberta. In Canmore, organizers were threatened that if "counter-protesters" showed up, the event would be shut down. The clear threat was that the victims of violence would be accused of "inciting violence," she said.

In contrast, the municipal officials in Lacombe welcomed an upcoming event there and said that if racist groups do come to their town to attack the rally, the townspeople themselves will chase them out. This is the spirit of Canadians who are determined to put an end to all manner of hate crimes. The attacks which took place in Red Deer and Ponoka have been denounced far and wide. Not only must these attacks be vigorously opposed, but those in positions of power must be held to account for racist attacks and violence, carried out by those they protect if not directly help instigate. Attacks on the right to conscience and speech are to suppress the people's striving for empowerment so that the rights of all are provided with a guarantee.

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Vigils Across Quebec for Victim of Racism

Justice for Joyce Echaquan

Vigil outside Joyce Echaquan's home after her death in hospital, September 28, 2020.

On Monday, September 28, Joyce Echaquan, a young Atikamekw woman from Manawan in Lanaudière, Quebec, aged 37 and mother of seven children, died at the Lanaudière Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSS) under disturbing circumstances. She had been admitted a few days earlier for stomach pain. She filmed herself live on Facebook as she called for help and felt herself dying. Instead of receiving the care she needed, she was ostracized. Racist and disparaging remarks against her made by a nurse and an orderly present in her room are heard on the recording. Her video also shows that she was restrained and reports indicate she was given morphine. Joyce passed away soon afterward. In the days following the tragedy, two staff members involved were dismissed and at least two investigations are underway, one conducted internally by the Lanaudière CISSS and another by the coroner.

Everywhere in Quebec and across Canada, saddened and indignant people reacted strongly to the video, which was seen around the world. Vigils were organized in solidarity with the Echaquan family and the Indigenous communities the next day and during the days that followed in Joliette; in Quebec City in front of the National Assembly; in Pikogan in Abitibi; Cookshire-Eaton in Estrie; Uashat near Sept-Îles; on the unceded territory of the Nitassinan in Saguenay; Sherbrooke; Pessamit near Baie-Comeau; Lac-Simon in the Outaouais; in Ottawa and elsewhere. Virtual vigils were also held. Numerous Indigenous and rights organizations, as well as unions, denounced the treatment Joyce received. On Saturday, October 3, a demonstration demanding Justice for Joyce will be held in Montreal, and a healing walk will be held in Quebec City.

This tragedy comes just days before the 15th Annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil to be held October 4. The vigil, initiated in 2006, will pay tribute to the more than 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and demand justice through vigils, both virtual and physical. In Quebec and Canada, Joyce Echaquan's name is on everyone's lips.

This tragedy follows one year after the release of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Relations Between Aboriginals and Certain Public Services in Quebec: Listening, Reconciliation and Progress, on September 30, 2019.[1] The Commission was established December 21, 2016 following the October 2016 allegations of sexual abuse by eight officers of the Sûreté du Québec against Indigenous women in Val-d'Or. Among the 142 recommendations, one explicitly calls for increased access to health and social services, in both urban and Aboriginal settings.

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was also recently released, in June 2019.[2] It calls on Canada to defend the rights of all and abolish the conception of rights based on privileges and discrimination against those who are in an inferior position in the echelon of power.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Joyce Echaquan and to the Atikamekw community for the loss of a loved one under such inhumane conditions. Justice must be served for Joyce, her family, her community and all missing and murdered women, their families, Indigenous peoples, organizations and allies across the country.



Alma Hospital (left) and in front of the National Assembly in Quebec City.

Cookshire-Eaton, Eastern Townships

Pessamit near Baie-Comeau





1. Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Relations Between Aboriginals and Certain Public Services in Quebec, December 21, 2016

2. Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 

(Photos: Justice for Joyce, Martial Pinette, Arna Moar, Anne-Claire St-Onge, Thérèse Dubé, Nataly Ottawa, Native Student Association of Laval)

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Vigils for Joyce Echaquan

Justice for Joyce
Saturday, October 3 -- 1:00-3:00 pm
Place Émilie-Gamelin
Corner of Sainte-Catherine and St-Hubert

Quebec City
Healing Walk
Saturday, October 3 -- 1:00 pm
Starts at National Assembly (1045 Rue des Parlementaires) and
goes to the Plains of Abraham.

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October 4: Sisters in Spirit Vigils

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Economic Recovery Plan for BC

Restructuring State Arrangements to
Strengthen Provincial Pay-the-Rich Economy

The BC government released an economic recovery plan called "A Stronger BC, for Everyone: BCs Economic Recovery Plan" on September 17, just prior to calling the provincial election for October 24. The plan is a continuation of the neo-liberal anti-social offensive aimed at structuring the state to strengthen pay-the-rich schemes within the U.S.-dominated imperialist system of states.

The plan contains numerous measures to pay the rich, which in effect politicize private interests. In other words, the structural changes in the plan strengthen the take-over of the decision-making power, exercised through the executive and legislative functions, by the most dominant global oligarchs. BC's socialized economy and human and natural resources are at their disposal and they brook no limitations on what they can do with it. No suggestion appears anywhere in the plan that a pro-social alternative is possible to the current domination of the economy by powerful global private interests.

Placing the economy and political domain under the authority of private interests is presented as a given. Job creation, wages and benefits for workers, and even social programs and steps to heal the environment are all framed in the neo-liberal jargon as trickling down from those who own and control the economy. The plan reiterates time and again that the path to recovery from the crisis is to prime private enterprise with provincial and federal public funds. According to the government, the future is in the hands of the rich and their decision-making about how to control the economy, aided by governments that ensure the oligarchs have in hand the public funds, political power and state institutions necessary to exploit the working class and use the immense natural resources of the province to their advantage.

Several issues are notable in their absence from the recovery plan. Missing is any analysis as to why economic crises are a recurring feature of the BC economy, both general crises and those specific to certain sectors such as forestry. The government says it represents working people and a social-democratic orientation but nowhere in the plan does it even attempt an explanation as to why the economy regularly fails and poverty is a constant feature.

The absence of an investigation and discussion of the root of the recurring economic crises and problems leads to an acceptance of the current failed direction of the economy and the politicization of the private interests in control at all levels. The absence of investigation and analysis in turn directs political thought towards the erroneous viewpoint that the role for working people is to behave as impotent bystanders to their own fate and choose between good and bad policies of the cartel parties of the ruling elite. This blocks the working class from building its own independent organizations, especially political ones, developing its own thinking, theory, analysis, reference points and political program and engaging in actions to defend what belongs to it by right. The demand to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programs is integral to the empowerment and the flowering of the democratic personality that arises with actions which defend the rights of all.

In the absence of any investigation and discussion of a new direction, the NDP government forges full speed ahead with pay-the-rich schemes that have proven to be a complete failure, as the current crisis shows. The measures in the plan to politicize private interests are breathtaking in their scale. The government pushes, holus bolus, the neo-liberal line that through paying the rich some of the generated wealth will trickle down to working people. The propping up of private enterprise with public funds is couched in the bogus neo-liberal line that doing so is the only way to create jobs, develop the economy and generate value to sustain social programs even though this has been proven false in practice with the rich becoming richer and social and natural problems worsening.

The BC economy is now more than ever integrated into the U.S. war economy and the clutches of the global oligarchy. The NDP's recovery plan attempts to block discussion of the necessity for a new direction for the economy, to change its aim to one of serving the needs of the people and society. Such a new direction asserts cooperation and mutual benefit of all its sectors and parts through planning in opposition to the destructive competition and striving for maximum private profit of imperialism. This new direction seeks to utilize the enormous productive capacity of modern production and international trade to meet the needs and well-being of all humanity without war and exploitation, and to humanize the natural and social environment and make Canada a zone for peace.

Also missing from the recovery plan is any mention of the two largest public-private projects now underway. First is the Site C dam and power plant on the Peace River, complete with power transmission lines to supply electricity to mines, gas wells and LNG plants controlled by the global rich. Second is the LNG Canada project to extract gas through hydraulic fracturing in northeast BC, build a highly contested Coastal GasLink pipeline across unceded Indigenous land to Kitimat on the west coast and there construct an LNG plant and new shipping port. These projects on unceded Indigenous land are highly contentious multi-billion dollar projects to pay the global rich and intensify their grip on Canada.

Another missing aspect of the plan is any mention of how the government borrows money from private moneylenders generating an enormous debt to them that continually sucks enormous value out of the economy through servicing to pay interest. The BC government this year is forecasting a deficit of $12.8 billion. It plans to sell bonds worth $18.5 billion to institutional investors to cover the deficit plus refinancing debt coming due. This year's deficit is forecast to increase the existing provincial debt to private moneylenders to $87.9 billion. The annual interest charge paid to the moneylenders is approaching $3 billion. No BC government has ever proposed or even discussed an alternative to borrowing from private moneylenders, which in fact is another form of paying the rich that should be banned as unnecessary, socially irresponsible and even criminal.

Included in the recovery plan are details of how BC government funds are to be funneled to prop up private enterprise at every level. The plan offers a blueprint of how the global oligarchs are taking measures to structure the state so that the BC economy ensures that collective public funds are regularly used to pay the rich and divert them away from social programs and any notion of developing public enterprise and services as the backbone of a renewed economy.

The public funds going to prop up the imperialist economy have as well the aim to nurture a strata of small and medium-sized business owners, intellectuals and certain trade union leaders who are expected to side with the global imperialist oligarchy against the working class and Indigenous peoples. The broad aim through the neo-liberal trickledown jargon is to convince them that their future and that of the people of BC lies within the realm of adopting "good polices." No alternative is to be considered, certainly not a new direction for the economy that breaks the grip of the global oligarchs over their lives and future and builds a new state that assumes its social responsibilities to the people and Mother Earth.

The working people now have thirty years' experience with the anti-social offensive and its neo-liberal dogma. They must not fall prey to gibberish, either of Trudeau, Horgan or any other proponent of the pay-the-rich measures which are being taken. The necessity for a new direction for the economy to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programs is the starting point for the new direction to make headway.


For extracts of the BC Government's Economic Recovery Plan with comments, click here.

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75th Session of UN General Assembly Underway

75th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Charter

A commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the UN is held September 21, 2020.

The 75th Session of the UN General Assembly opened on September 15. The theme of this year's General Assembly is "The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism." This theme is supposed to guide all activities of the UN and its bodies, including the High-Level General Debate, which took place from September 22 to 26 and concluded on September 29.

This year, the UN commemorates its 75th anniversary on October 24, which has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the Charter of the United Nations. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

The Charter of the United Nations is the organization's foundational treaty. It was signed by 50 of the UN's original members in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, six weeks after Nazi Germany surrendered at the end of the Second World War. The Charter entered into force on October 24, 1945, the official date of the UN's formation, after being ratified by the original five permanent members of the Security Council -- the Republic of China (replaced by the People's Republic of China on October 25, 1971), France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States -- and a majority of the other signatories. All UN members are duty-bound to uphold the 111 articles of the UN Charter. Further, Article 103 of the UN Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations.

The Preamble to the Charter states four main general aims:

- to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

- to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

- to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

- to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

Article One of the Charter clearly states the United Nations' four main purposes:

- to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

- to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

- to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

- to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

The first four principles of the UN are clearly stated at the beginning of Article 2:

- The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

- All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

- All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

- All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

While stating in words their allegiance to the articles of the UN Charter, the U.S. imperialists and their allies take every opportunity to defy the Charter in deeds. They routinely violate national sovereignty, continuously humiliate or commit open aggression against other countries, and refuse to be held to account for their misdeeds which threaten all of humanity. This situation underscores the need to reform and renew the UN. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter, it is important to again stress the pressing need for the UN and its bodies to enshrine and uphold the equality and sovereignty of all nations and for all nations big and small to uphold the norms and laws of international relations so as to ensure international peace. This must be done not just by using empty words but in actual deeds.

One of the most critical needs is to reform the UN Security Council. Two fundamental principles of international relations are that all nations have equal standing and that the right to sovereignty of all nations must be upheld. These hard-won principles were paid for by the blood of millions in World War II and stand diametrically opposed to the imperialist dictum that "Might Makes Right." Upholding these principles is the duty of all nations to ensure that never again will the world be subject to a global war. The United Nations Charter espouses these principles but they are contradicted in practice by the composition of the Security Council which is not in line with the needs of the times. 

The Security Council is entrusted with the crucial issue of maintaining peace. Under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council can take enforcement measures to "maintain or restore international peace and security," ranging from economic and/or other sanctions not involving the use of armed force to international military action.

Five big powers remain the permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. This is not only totally unrepresentative of the majority of the 193 countries which make up the UN today but these big powers have a veto on all matters that come before the Security Council. Although "power of veto" is not explicitly mentioned in the Charter, Article 27 states that "substantive" decisions require "the concurring votes of the permanent members." The permanent members vote according to their own national interests, not the interests of the world's people which are sacrificed as a matter of course.

Since 1972, the U.S. has used its veto power more than any other permanent member. The Security Council usurps the decision-making process, rendering the decisions of the General Assembly ineffective. The renewal of the composition of the Security Council arrangements is needed to make the UN democratic and effective as an instrument to maintain world peace and stop its use to justify the bullying and aggression of the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners, which is causing havoc in the world today.

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Presentation by President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez to the General Debate

Posted below is the presentation by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez on September 22, to the General Debate at the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly,
September 22, 2020.

Mr. Secretary General,

Mr. President,

A global pandemic has changed everyday life drastically. From one day to the next, millions of people get infected and thousands die even when their life expectancy was longer thanks to development. Hospital systems with high-level services have collapsed and the health structures of poor countries are affected by their chronic lack of capacity. Drastic quarantines are turning the most populated cities into deserted areas. Social life is non-existent except in digital networks. Theatres, discos, galleries and even schools are closed or being readjusted.

Our borders have been closed, our economies are shrinking and our reserves are dwindling. Life is experiencing a radical redesigning of age-old ways and uncertainty is replacing certainty. Even close friends cannot recognize each other due to the masks that protect us from the contagion. Everything is changing.

Like finding a solution to the pandemic, it is already urgent to democratize this indispensable organization so that it effectively meets the needs and aspirations of all peoples.

The sought-after right of humanity to live in peace and security, with justice and freedom, the basis for unity among nations, is constantly under threat.

Over $1.9 trillion are being squandered today in a senseless arms race promoted by the aggressive and war-mongering policies of imperialism, whose leader is the present government of the U.S., which accounts for 38 per cent of the global military expenditure.

We are referring to a markedly aggressive and morally corrupt regime that despises and attacks multilateralism, uses financial blackmailing in its relations with UN system agencies and that, in a show of unprecedented overbearance, has withdrawn from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council.

Paradoxically, the country where the UN headquarters is located is also staying away from fundamental international treaties such as the Paris Agreement on climate change; it rejects the nuclear agreement with Iran reached by consensus; it promotes trade wars; it ends its commitment with international disarmament control instruments; it militarizes cyberspace; it expands coercion and unilateral sanctions against those who do not bend to its designs and sponsors the forcible overthrow of sovereign governments through non-conventional war methods.

Along such line of action, which ignores the old principles of peaceful co-existence and respect of the right of others to self-determination as the guarantee for peace, the Donald Trump administration is also manipulating, with subversive aims, cooperation in the sphere of democracy and human rights, while in its own territory there is an abundance of practically uncontrolled expressions of hatred, racism, police brutality and irregularities in the election system and as to the voting rights of citizens

It is urgent to reform the UN. This powerful organization, which emerged after the loss of millions of lives in two world wars and as a result of a world understanding of the importance of dialogue, negotiation, cooperation and international law, must not postpone any further its updating and democratization. Today's world needs the UN just as the one where it came into being did.

Something that is very special and profound has failed, as evidenced by the daily and permanent violation of the UN Charter principles, and by the ever-increasing use or threat of use of force in international relations.

There is no way to sustain any longer, as if it were natural and unshakable, an unequal, unjust and anti-democratic International order where selfishness prevails over solidarity and the mean interests of a powerful minority prevail over the legitimate aspirations of millions of people.

Notwithstanding the dissatisfactions and the demands for change that, together with other states and millions of citizens in the world, we are presenting to the UN, the Cuban Revolution shall always uphold the existence of the Organization, to which we owe the little but indispensable multilateralism that is surviving imperial overbearance.

More than once, at this very forum, Cuba has reiterated its willingness to cooperate with the democratization of the UN and the upholding of international cooperation, that can be saved only by it. As stated by the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and I quote: "The international community will always be able to count on Cuba's honest voice in the face of injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation, and for the establishment of a more just and equitable international order which really centres on human beings, their dignity and wellbeing." End of quote.

Mr. President,

Coming back to the seriousness of the present situation, which many blame only on the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it is essential to say that its impact is by far overflowing the health sphere.

Due to its nefarious effects, dramatic death toll and damages to the world economy and the deterioration of social development levels, the spreading of the pandemic in the last few months brings anguish and despair to leaders and citizens in practically all nations.

But the multidimensional crisis it has unleashed clearly shows the great mistake of the dehumanized policies imposed no matter the cost by the market dictatorship.

Today, we are witnessing with sadness the disaster the world has been led to by the irrational and unsustainable production and consumption system of capitalism, decades of an unjust international order and the implementation of ruthless and rampant neoliberalism, which has widened inequalities and sacrificed the right of peoples to development.

Unlike exclusionary neoliberalism, which puts aside and discards millions of human beings and condemns them to survive on the leftovers from the banquet of the richest one percent, the COVID-19 virus does not discriminate between one and the other, but its devastating economic and social effects will be lethal among the most vulnerable and those with lower incomes, whether they live in the underdeveloped world or in the pockets of poverty of big industrial cities.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projections, the 690 million people who were going hungry in 2019 might be joined by a further 130 million as a result of the economic recession caused by the pandemic. Studies by the International Labor Organization (ILO) say that over 305 million jobs have been lost and that the livelihoods of more than 1.6 billion workers are at stake.

We cannot see COVID-19, hunger, unemployment and the growing economic and social inequalities between individuals and countries as unrelated phenomena. There is an urgency to implement integrated policies that prioritize human beings and not economic profits or political advantages.

It would be criminal to put off yesterday's and today's decisions for tomorrow. It is imperative to promote solidarity and international cooperation to lessen the impact.

Only the UN, with its world membership, has the required authority and reach to resume the just struggle to write off uncollectable foreign debt which, aggravated by the social and economic effects of the pandemic, is threatening the survival of the peoples of the South.

Mr. President,

The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and the early signs that it would bring a pandemic did not catch Cuba off guard.

With the decade-long experience of facing terrible epidemics, some of which were provoked deliberately as part of the permanent war against our political project, we immediately implemented a series of measures based on our main capabilities and strengths, namely, a well-structured socialist state that cares for the health of its citizens, highly-skilled human capital and a society with many people's involvement in its decision-making and problem solving processes.

The implementation of those measures, combined with the knowledge accrued for over 60 years of great efforts to create and expand a high-quality and universal health system, plus scientific research and development, has made it possible not only to preserve the right to health of all citizens, without exception, but also to be in a better position to face the pandemic.

We have been able to do it in spite of the harsh restrictions of the long economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government, which has been brutally tightened in the last two years, even during these pandemic times, something that shows it is the essential component of the hostile U.S. Cuba policy.

The aggressiveness of the blockade has reached a qualitatively higher level that further asserts its role as the real and determining impediment to the managing of the economy and the development of our country. The U.S. government has intensified in particular its harassment of Cuban financial transactions and, beginning in 2019, it has been adopting measures that violate international law to deprive the Cuban people of the possibility to buy fuels they need for their everyday activities and for their development.

So as to damage and demonize the Cuban Revolution and others it defines as adversaries, the U.S. has been publishing spurious lists having no legitimacy by which it abrogates to itself the right to impose unilateral coercive measures and unfounded qualifications on the world.

Every week, that government issues statements against Cuba or imposes new restrictions. Paradoxically, however, it has refused to label as terrorist the attack that was carried out against the Cuban embassy in Washington on April 30, 2020, when an individual armed with an assault rifle fired over 30 rounds against the diplomatic mission and later admitted his intent to kill.

We denounce the double standards of the U.S. government in the fight against terror and demand a public condemnation of that brutal attack.

We demand a cessation of the hostility and slanderous campaign against the altruistic work of Cuba's international medical cooperation that, with much prestige and verifiable results, has contributed to saving hundreds of lives and lowering the impact of diseases in many countries. Prominent international figures and highly prestigious social organizations have acknowledged the humanistic work done by the "Henry Reeve" International Medical Brigade for Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics and called for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to them.

While the U.S. government is ignoring the call to combine efforts to fight the pandemic and it withdraws from the WHO, Cuba, in response to requests made to it, and guided by the profound solidarity and humanistic vocation of its people, is expanding its cooperation by sending over 3,700 cooperation workers distributed in 46 medical brigades to 39 countries and territories hit by COVID-19.

In this sense, we condemn the gangster blackmailing by the U.S. to pressure the Pan-American Health Organization aimed at making that regional agency a tool for its morbid aggression against our country. As usual, the force of truth will do away with lies, and facts and the protagonists will go down in history as they should. Cuba's example shall prevail.

Our dedicated health workers, the pride of a nation brought up in José Marti's idea that My Country Is Humanity, shall be awarded the prize their noble hearts deserve, or not; but for years they have won the recognition of the peoples blessed by their health work.

The U.S. government is not hiding its intention to enforce new and harsher aggressive measures against Cuba in the next few months. We state once again before the international community that our people, who take pride in their history and are committed to the ideals and achievements of the Revolution, shall resist and overcome.

Mr. President,

The attempts at imposing neocolonial domination on Our America by publicly declaring the validity today of the Monroe Doctrine contravene the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

We wish to restate publicly in this virtual forum that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will always have the solidarity of Cuba in the face of attempts to destabilize and subvert its constitutional order and civic-military unity and destroy the work begun by Commander Hugo Chávez Frías and continued by President Nicolás Maduro Moros to benefit the Venezuelan people.

We also reject the U.S. actions aimed at destabilizing the Republic of Nicaragua and ratify our unwavering solidarity with its people and government led by Commander Daniel Ortega.

We state our solidarity with the Caribbean nations, which are demanding just reparations for the horrors of slavery and the slave trade, in a world where racial discrimination and the repression against Afro-descendant communities have been on the rise.

We reaffirm our historical commitment with the self-determination and independence of the sisterly people of Puerto Rico.

We support the legitimate claim by Argentina to its sovereignty over the Malvinas, the South Sandwich and South Georgia islands.

We reiterate our commitment to peace in Colombia and the conviction that dialogue between the parties is the road to achieving stable and lasting peace in that country.

We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed on Syria, with no foreign interference and in full respect of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We demand a just solution to the conflict in the Middle East, which must include the real exercise by the Palestinian people of the inalienable right to build their own State within the borders prior to 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject Israel's attempts to annex more territories in the West Bank.

We state our solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the face of escalating U.S. aggression.

We reaffirm our steadfast solidarity with the Sahrawi people.

We strongly condemn the unilateral and unjust sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

We restate our rejection of the intention to expand NATO's presence to Russia's borders and the imposition of unilateral and unjust sanctions against Russia.

We reject foreign interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus and reiterate our solidarity with the legitimate president of that country, Aleksandr Lukashenko, and the sisterly people of Belarus.

We condemn the interference in the internal affairs of the People's Republic of China and oppose any attempt to harm its territorial integrity and its sovereignty.

Mr. President,

Today's disturbing circumstances have led to the fact that, for the first time in the 75-year-long history of the United Nations, we have had to meet in a format that is not in person.

Cuba's scientific community, another source of pride for the nation that, since the triumph of the Revolution of the just, announced to the world its intention to be a country of men and women of science, is working non-stop on one of the first vaccines in the world going through clinical trials in the world.

Its creators and other researchers and experts, in coordination with the health system, are writing protocols on healthcare for infected persons, recovered patients and the at-risk population that have allowed us to maintain the statistics of the epidemic at around 80 per cent of infected persons saved and a mortality rate below the average in the Americas and the world.

"Doctors and not bombs." That was announced one day by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution and chief sponsor of scientific development in Cuba: Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. That's our motto. Saving lives and sharing what we are and have, no matter the sacrifice it takes; that is what we are offering to the world from the United Nations, asking it only for a change in tune with the gravity of the present times.

We are Cuba.

Let us strive together to promote peace, solidarity and development.

Thank you very much.

(Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 22, 2020. Slightly edited for style by TML.)

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